The Secret To Perfect Mitered Corners On Your Quilts – How To Sew Mitered Edges That Lay Flat

The Secret To Perfect Mitered Corners On Your Quilts – How To Sew Mitered Edges That Lay Flat image 4

Everything You Need to Know About Mitered Corners on Quilts

If you’ve ever tried to make a quilt with sharp, precise corners, you know mitering can be tricky. As a long-time quilter, I’ve faced many challenges with mitered edges over the years. In this guide, I’ll reveal all the secrets to perfect mitered corners on quilts every time.

What are mitered corners?

Mitered corners are where two edges meet at a 45-degree angle to form a sharp point. This creates a very crisp, professional look compared to just squaring off the fabrics. When done correctly, mitered edges make your quilt look sleek and give it a polished finished appearance.

Why miter quilt corners?

There are a few good reasons why many quilters prefer the mitered look:

  1. It creates a clean, tailored appearance that resembles commercial quilts.
  2. Mitered edges show off any geometric designs or patterns in the quilt more prominently.
  3. They make small, fussy-cut motifs really pop at the corners instead of getting obscured.

From my experience, mitered seams are especially great for modern or graphic quilt designs where precise points are important to the overall aesthetic.

How to cut fabric for mitered corners

Proper cutting is crucial for successful mitering. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Cut all fabric strips 1/4 inch bigger than the finished measurement. For example, if you need a 6 inch finished strip, cut it 6 1/4 inches.
  2. For corner triangles, cut two squares that are 1/4 inch bigger than the finished mitered measurement. So for a 3 inch finished corner, cut two 3 1/4 inch squares.
  3. Place the squares right sides together and use a ruler and rotary cutter to cut them on the diagonal from corner to corner.

By cutting everything just a bit oversized, it allows room for the fabric to be folded at the corners without pulling or distorting the design. Proper preparation is key!

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Sewing mitered seams

Here are the steps to accurately sew mitered seams:

  1. Place two triangles right sides together, aligning the diagonal cut edges.
  2. Sew them with a 1/4 inch seam allowance directly on the drawn line. Go slowly and keep the pieces aligned as you sew.
  3. Press the seam allowance open to reduce bulk at the point.
  4. Trim the seam allowance down to 1/8 inch if needed using small scissors.

The trick is to sew directly ON the drawn line for a perfect point. If your points are coming out rounded or slanted instead of sharp, slow down and double check your seam line alignment.

Assembling mitered corners

Here’s how to put all the pieces together flawlessly:

  1. Lay out the pieced strips and corner triangles in order, with right sides facing up.
  2. Pin one triangle right sides together with one strip edge, aligning the raw edges and mitered seam point.
  3. Sew with a 1/4 inch seam, backstitching at the beginning and end. Go slowly at the turn to keep the corner point sharp.
  4. Press open and repeat for the remaining three sides.

As with the seams, slow down and pay close attention to keeping all raw edges matched up perfectly at the mitered points as you assemble.

Tips for success

Here are some additional tips gleaned from experience to help ensure beautiful mitered corners every time:

  • Use a 60/40 cloth-tipped pin for turnable fabric pieces like mitered triangles.
  • Install a new sewing machine needle for piecing to avoid skipped stitches.
  • Stitch with poly thread on your machine for a more durable seam at stress points.
  • Press seams with an iron set to cotton or wool – not too hot or it may distort delicate prints.
  • Carefully check points after each step for accuracy before proceeding.

Proper fabric preparation, accurate piecing, and quality pressing are what truly set beautifully mitered corners apart from average ones. Go slow, pay attention to details, and you’ll master the technique in no time.

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Common mitering mistakes

We’ve all been there – here are some mistakes even experienced quilters make with mitered corners that you’ll want to watch out for:

  1. Cutting pieces too short: Always cut generously oversized as mentioned before.
  2. Forgetting to backstitch at the start/end of seams: Stitches may come undone.
  3. Sewing off the drawn line: This rounds out the points.
  4. Not pressing fully: Not pressing seams open leaves bulk.
  5. Rushing the assembly: Slow down to keep edges matched perfectly.
  6. Using too hot an iron: It can distort prints or vinyl.

With practice, patience and avoiding these common traps, you’ll find yourself cranking out picture-perfect mitered quilt corners in no time.

Finishing techniques

Once your quilt top is complete, there are a few finishing methods to really make the mitered corners pop:

  1. Add an extra-thin black thread edgestitch all the way around the raw edges before binding to define the points.
  2. Use binding that contrasts with the quilt for high visibility at the corners.
  3. Adopt French binding techniques to fully encase the raw edges for a very tailored look.
  4. Hand sew tiny reinforcements behind the tiniest inside corner points for extra reinforcement.

These extra finishing steps aren’t always necessary but can turn great corners into absolutely stunning showstoppers.

Inspiration and examples

Looking at photos of beautiful quilts with perfect mitered corners is very inspiring. It helps reinforce the techniques and gives you ideas on how to showcase your new-found skills. Here are a few of my favorites to check out online:

  • “Mitered Modern” by Alyssa of Sage Sue Designs
  • “Triangle Dance” by Angela Walters
  • “Dresden Plate Mitered Quilt” by Gyleen X. Fitzgerald
  • “Miter Love” quilt pattern by Angela Huffman

With the guidance above and some dedicated practice, you’ll soon achieve impeccable mitered corners of your own that you can proudly display. Let me know if you have any other quilting questions!

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Factors to Consider When Cutting Mitered Corners for Quilts

Corner Size Material Angle Technique
1/4 inch Cotton 45 degrees Mark line first with fabric marker before cutting
1/2 inch Flannel 30 degrees Use matching thread and small, precise stitches
1 inch Microfiber 22.5 degrees Press seams open or to one side for clean finish
1.5 inches Fleece 15 degrees Use quilting-weight bamboo or steam-a-seam to fuse


  1. What are mitered corners on quilts?

    Mitered corners are something you can do with quilt blocks to make sharp points at the edges. Basically, you cut the fabric at an angle so the seams join together in a point. It takes some skill but it’s kind of cool how they turn out.

  2. How do you cut fabric for mitered corners?

    To cut for mitered corners, you’ll measure and mark diagonal lines at 45 degree angles from opposite corners of your fabric piece. Then you cut along those lines. Apparently some quilters like to draw the lines with chalk or a fabric marking pencil first so they can see exactly where to cut – does that help visualize it?

  3. What tools do you need to construct mitered corners?

    The basic supplies you’ll need are a ruler, rotary cutter, sewing machine and some strong pair of fabric scissors if cutting by hand. A clear acrylic ruler is best for marking and cutting the angles. Nice, sharp scissors make a huge difference too. You’ll also want pins, thread that matches your fabrics, and maybe some wonder tape or glue sticks to hold the seams in place as you sew.

  4. How difficult are mitered corners to sew?

    Sewing mitered corners accurately takes some practice, but it’s definitely doable for most home sewers. The key things are cutting your fabric strips with exact 45 degree angles, and pinning or gluing the seams really well before sewing so the points don’t slip out of place. Go slow, backstitch at the points, and check from the front as you sew to make sure the angles line up evenly. With a few tries, it gets easier!

  5. What tips can you offer for sewing successful mitered corners?

    Here are a few tips: Press your seams open before sewing the corners together to reduce bulk. Use a short stitch length and backstitch at the points for reinforcement. Try “clipping” the seam allowances within the corner points with small snips – it supposedly reduces bulk and allows for sharper angles. And definitely pull a thread at the end to make sure the seams don’t come unstitched later! Does this help give you some strategies to sew nice mitered corners?

  6. When would you use mitered corners on a quilt?

    Mitered corners are mainly used for quilts that have a squared-off, box-like look rather than scalloped edges. They’re particularly suitable for quilts made of high-contrast print fabrics, or ones showcasing traditional geometric quilt block patterns like Nine Patch, Four Patch or Flying Geese. However, mitered corners could work on any style as long as the focal point is meant to be the blocks or center Medallion versus fancy borders. On the other hand, they may not be the best choice for very fluffy or heavily appliqued quilts.

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  7. Do mitered corners require more fabric?

    Generally yes – mitered corners do take a bit more fabric compared to using straight edges or standard corner-squares. The diagonally-cut corners result in more fabric scrap pieces. You’ll want to estimate needing about 10% more fabric overall to account for the corner cutoffs. At the same time, careful pattern layout and minimizing waste is always smart. With practice you can get pretty efficient at using all the fabric remnants productively too. Does this help explain the extra fabric needed? Let me know if any part remains unclear!